We began studying Tractate Chagigah in 2003, and completed it on my 55th birthday, 12/13/10. I wanted to make these audio notations of the more amazing parts so I could listen to them at work and not forget them, so I'm also sharing them.
In most books on the Kabbalah that are even attempting to be 'authoritative,' references are always made to Tractate Chagigah, and to the specific pages represented in these recordings. Though we don't find specific Kabbalistic concepts in these pages, we hear some of the basic theory. Ideas such as the sephirot, paths, 4 worlds, and manifestation are things that were discovered in subsequent centuries, with Ezekiel's prophecy as the "seed" of the entire body of kabbalistic lore.
In many places the gemara cites verses from the psalms, prophets, and writings, which helps deepen comprehension of them.
2) Chagigah 5b4 ~ Rabbi One Day - quality over quantity in Torah study
3) Chagigah 9b2 ~ 101 times - One who recites their verse..." attaining depth in study
5) Chagigah 11b2 ~ Mishna - A "mishna" is the initial set of statements, that triggers the discussion that follows. Responses in the discussion usually occur centuries apart, and are written on the page in concentric columns. This mishna is "Eyn Dorshin" - "Don't Investigate" and lists the various subjects that should never be studied, because of their exalted nature. The gemara [subsequent responsa] then engages in a wide ranging discussion of those exact subjects:
"Tohu v'Vohu" - "without form and void" - the Green Line of creation - the Hidden Primordial Light [light of the first day as different than the luminaries on the fourth day] - 10 things made with Creation -Adam's size - discuss the kedusha part of the prayer service "kadosh kadosh kadosh" [holy holy holy], the significance of the word "et" in the creation narrative.
6) Chagigah 12a2 ~ Creation, pillars of heaven shudder in astonishment, "El Shaddai" - the One who told the world "Enough," 10 things created on the first day, the Green Line, Tohu v'Vohu
7) Chagigah 12b2 ~ The Seven Heavens - a discussion of the seven levels of heaven, the thread of chesed [compassion], the awesome ice
8) Chagigah 13a1 ~ More about the Seven Heavens, Castle built on a trash heap, Psalm 148, consequences of idle chatter
9) Chagigah 13a6 ~ Chashmal - a discussion of this word in the first and tenth chapters of Ezekiel, perspiration of angels, "Maaseh Bereshis" and "Maaseh Merkevah" - the "Work of Creation" and the "Work of the Chariot." The chayot [angels] running to and fro
10) Chagigah 13b4 ~ Members of the Heavenly court "reduced" the Stream of Fire, perspiration of angels, the ephemeral nature of angels and how they are created, Psalm 33:6, the two thrones, chair and foot stool
11) Chagigah 14b1 ~ relates the famous story of the four rabbis who went into the "Orchard" - "PARDES" - a metaphor that is rich with meaning. Of the four, only rabbi Akiva emerged unscathed, although he did have it bad at his end... The "orchard" is written in the gemara "prds" - that is, the four Hebrew letters peh, resh, dalet, samech. Many drashim or stories are derived from this; and "pardes" is the origin of the word "paradise."
12) Chagigah 15a3 ~ Rab Acher [Elisha ben Abuyah], who went off the path, pulling a radish for a woman of the evening on the Sabbath. the pillar of smoke from Acher's grave that lasted until Rab Yochanan's question, Acher's daughter is a Torah scholar, Song of Songs 6:11, Torah scholars who "sour," "kal v'chomer" "a fortieri arguments," Acher's lap full of hidden heretical tracts.
13) The last clip is an overview of the entire tractate, and a close look at the last part which discusses the "salamandra" - the lizard who is born in fire.